US President Barack Obama has announced plans to increase oversight over surveillance programs by the National Security Agency(NSA) to restore people’s damaged trust in the government.
At a news conference in the White House on Friday, Obama said his administration would work with the Congress to add a voice in support of privacy rights to the secret process before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which issues orders for the NSA programs. The president added that the White House would work to overhaul the Section 215 of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act that governs the collection of metadata such as phone records. "All these steps are designed to ensure that the American people can trust that our efforts are this line with our interests and our values," Obama said. “It’s not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs. The American people need to have confidence in them, as well.” "And to others around the world I want to make clear once again that America is not interested in spying on ordinary people." Obama also announced the creation of a panel of experts including former intelligence officials, civil liberty and privacy advocates, and others to evaluate and review the US surveillance effort and suggest changes by the end of the year. The US came under domestic and international pressure when Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, revealed that the American spying organization conducts surveillance on Americans as well as the citizens of other countries around the globe. Russia has granted a one-year asylum to the American leaker, irritating US officials who had for more than a month been asking Russian authorities to extradite Snowden. Obama also added that the attitude of Russia has become more anti-US since the return of Vladimir Putin as president. He added that Putin’s rhetoric is reminiscent of Cold War. “I think we saw more rhetoric on the Russian side that was anti-American, that played into some of the old stereotypes about the Cold War contest between the United States and Russia,” Obama said.